Many church (or corporate) leaders come into a business setting with little formal training or marginal experience. Sure, lessons can be learned by fire but with help you can save yourself from 3rd degree burns.
Meetings with your deacons, church leadership team or other prime movers can be unnecessarily tedious without the right approach. One of the first things to realize is: You don’t always have to lead the meeting.
Sometimes upper management has a tendency to think we need to lead everything. In truth, meetings do not necessarily need to be led by the top tier. Leading everything can be damaging to you and your church/business in the long run; this includes meetings.
Look around your leadership team or general working staff and see who may be as skilled in this than you (maybe more skilled). Most times this will be a business owner or manager in your midst. If they are already on your leadership team, then have them lead the next meeting and see how it goes. In this, you will allow them to use their gifts and talents to serve their church, business, and/or head manager.
Maybe you don’t know any leaders in your company skilled in this way. Think through friends or acquaintances and ask them to teach you. Until then, here are four basic steps to lead a successful meeting.
I. Set a time frame.
We have all endured the meeting that seemed to never end. A step as elementary as setting a time to begin and end will help you stay on track and focused on the task at hand. It may seem simple but time limits are sometimes neglected in meetings.
I have seen the glorious light of a meeting that doesn’t go on for eternity without purpose. Your meetings can be much more effective with a time frame to keep.
II. Set a flexible agenda with priorities first.
An agenda should ideally be sent out beforehand by someone who is gifted in administration. Some have a tendency to only see the big picture and miss all the details surrounding the objective. These types need to find administrative-minded leaders to own this task. They should find structure in other aspects of their leadership as well. Many gifted and creative leaders are unfulfilled because they lack the help in staying focused, and on task unto completion of preset goals!
By having an agenda that wasn’t created on the spot, leaders have time to marinate on topics and come to the meeting with a more complete thought than if the item were just presented. An agenda will go a long way to make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew, but have something to chew so that you leave feeling accomplished.
III. Create a parking lot.
Don’t discount the random squirrel thoughts that run through your meeting, but chasing these animals whenever they run through will make your meetings unsuccessful and unproductive. Write extraneous items on paper or a whiteboard and keep moving with the current topic. You can always reassess your agenda since sometimes those squirrel thoughts become priorities that should be addressed immediately. If not, shoot the squirrel and your other leaders will thank you.
IV. Make an action plan.
A successful meeting can be sabotaged if you leave without an action plan and owners. Who owns each of the items that you have discussed and when is the timeframe to complete the task or return with more information? Don’t leave the meeting without answering these questions and you will avoid overlap in your next meeting.
Leadership meetings can be gratifying or exhausting but with a few key principles and a little practice you can lead them effectively, and in doing so lead your church, ministry or organization to be more successful in reaching its overall goal, whether that be making widgets or making disciples!